Posts

Showing posts from March, 2014

Introducing OPEN MIC contributor Francisco X. Stork

Image
I'm delighted to continue to showcase the nine authors who collaborated with me on OPEN MIC: RIFFS ON LIFE BETWEEN CULTURES IN TEN VOICES (published by Candlewick Press). Today I'm featuring the brilliant Francisco X. Stork, author of the piece called "Brotherly Love," a fictional look at the limits of traditional Latino masculinity.

VOYA had this to say about our book and, more specifically, about Francisco's piece: "... Perkins organizes the stories wisely in this collection that hopes to put a humorous spin on a topical, deeply uncomfortable subject: Race. ... In Francisco X. Stork's "Brotherly Love," siblings Luis and Rosalinda have a revealing conversation about their brother Bernie. These tales in particular dance between humor and heartache, ending on notes of triumph as we look toward a hopeful future. ..."Here are the opening paragraphs from his short story in OPEN MIC, which tell so much about the close bonds Luis has with his si…

Wisconsin, Here I Come

Image
On Tuesday, April 8, I'm honored to offer the keynote at this year's conference on multicultural literature at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. Come and join us if you're nearby.

Tuesday April 8, 2014 - at - the Collaborative Learning Studio, UW-La Crosse Murphy Library, second floor. - Presentations at - 12:30 - 2:00 pm and 4:00 - 5:30 pm The program is free of charge, and participants may attend either of two presentations.

KQED Hosts a Panel on Children's Literature and People of Color

Image
On Monday, I was honored to be part of a group invited by KQED Forum to speak on the radio about the Cooperative Children's Book Center's (CCBC) 2013 findings on diversity in children's literature. I joined host Mina Kim, Nina Lindsay, children's librarian at Oakland Public Library, and illustrator LeUyen Pham in the studio. K.T. Horning of the CCBC provided a pre-recorded introduction, and Christopher Myers, whose recent New York Times article, "The Apartheid of Children's Literature," precipitated the public interest, joined us live from Brooklyn.

Let me offer some thoughts on live radio. First, it moves fast—the hour barreled by. Second, a good host must be excellent at multi-tasking; it was fascinating to watch Mina's brain and body move in marvelous synchronicity as she steered the conversation. Three, you can't edit your words.

I said things with which I generally agree but left wishing I could have tweaked a sentence or two. For example, I …

Introducing OPEN MIC Contributor Debbie Rigaud

Image
I'm delighted to showcase the nine authors who collaborated with me on OPEN MIC: RIFFS ON LIFE BETWEEN CULTURES IN TEN VOICES (published by Candlewick Press). Today I'm featuring the winner of an open call for contributors, where we sought entries far and wide for the anthology. Debbie Rigaud's "VoilĂ " won that contest. 
The Philadelphia Inquirer had this to say about our book and, more specifically, about Debbie's piece: "... Open Mic is not a collection of spoken-word poetry, as you might expect, but it is every bit as spirited as a live performance. Ten YA authors contributed fiction and nonfiction pieces that depict slices of life as a racial minority in America, and their stories are funny, touching, and inventive by turns ... 'VoilĂ ,' Debbie Rigaud's short story about a Haitian American girl taking her grandmother to the "ghetto doctor" (and the tiresome white teenagers who are there as volunteers) is rendered in beautiful lan…

KQED Panel on People of Color in Children's Literature

Image
Excited to be a part of this program tomorrow morning on public radio in the Bay Area. Tune in via the web if you're not local—East Coast time 1 o'clock in the afternoon.

People of Color Underrepresented
in Children's BooksMon, Mar 24, 2014 -- 10:00 AM

Getty Images Ethnic diversity is on the rise in the U.S. So why are children's books still so white? Only about 6 percent of kids' books published in 2013 feature characters that are African-American, Latino, Asian or Native American. We take up the discussion with authors, illustrators and librarians. Does the ethnicity of characters in children's books matter to you? Host: Mina Kim Guests: Kathleen Horning, director of the Cooperative Children's Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's School of EducationLeUyen Pham, illustrator of children's books including "Grace for President," "Freckleface Strawberry" and "Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural …

Introducing OPEN MIC Contributor Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich

Image
I'm proud to showcase the nine authors who collaborated with me on OPEN MIC: RIFFS ON LIFE BETWEEN CULTURES IN TEN VOICES (an anthology published by Candlewick Press). Today's spotlight is on writer Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich(sometimes known as Gbemi.) Publishers Weekly had this to say about our book and, more specifically, about Gbemi's contribution:
"... Ten writers and artists, including Varian Johnson, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Francisco X. Stork, offer brief works of fiction and nonfiction “about the between-cultures life.” As Perkins notes, “Humor has the power to break down barriers and draw us together across borders,” and the stories within bear that out... Most offer a subtler, uncomfortable brand of situational humor: Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich calls her high school 'an oasis of suburban racial integration'; when the drama club performed The Crucible, 'the drama coach was sensitive enough to ask the black members of the troupe if we’d be uncom…

Dimming the Lights ... For a Bit

I'm taking a bit of a break from social media for the purposes of soul care, but I'll return in a few weeks. In the meantime, I'll still be popping out to the Fire Escape every now and then. Thanks, friends.

Introducing OPEN MIC Contributor Naomi Shihab Nye

Image
I'm proud to showcase the nine authors who collaborated with me on OPEN MIC: RIFFS ON LIFE BETWEEN CULTURES IN TEN VOICES (an anthology published by Candlewick Press). The Horn Book had this to say about our book:
"... In her preface to this nicely compact collection, Perkins suggests that humor can help smooth the way in discussions about race — if it’s used carefully, laughing with, not at ... Naomi Shihab Nye offers an eloquent poem about her Arab American dad, whose open friendliness made him 'Facebook before it existed.' ..." It is always a delight to share that the brilliant, award-winning poet Naomi Shihab Nye is a contributor. Here are a few lines from "Lexicon," an original OPEN MIC poem, that illustrate her ability to "combine transcendent liveliness and sparkle along with warmth and human insight," as the poet William Stafford once said:

... Remembering my father's daily sweetness,
the way some people make you better
just by steppi…